Milford honors three local men who died in September 11 attacks
Elementary school students sang America the Beautiful at a teardrop shaped garden in Milford Wednesday morning as residents and city officials remembered three local men who died at the World Trade Center in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 — Michael Miller, Avnish Patel and Seth Morris.
The World Trade Center Memorial Garden at Live Oaks School was created in their honor and dedicated Sept. 9, 2002.
State Rep. Kathy Kennedy (R-119) spoke of the three men during the Milford ceremony, sharing stories and information about them that she has gathered over the years since their deaths.
Seth Morris was 35 when he died. He graduated from Matthewson Elementary School in Milford, and from the University of New Haven. He was married with three children, and he worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, an investment company with offices in Tower One.
He was kind and caring, Kennedy said, noting that he was also at the World Trade Center during the 1993 terrorist attack and proved himself a hero.
“Seth carried a young pregnant woman to safety,” Kennedy said.
Avnish Patel, 28, was the youngest of the three men. He lived down the road from Live Oaks School, and he attended Foran High School for two years before moving to New York. He was working on the 93rd floor of Tower One when the plane hit, according to prior news reports.
“He was a financial analyst at Fred Alger [Management],” Kennedy said. “He had a zest for life and a determination to succeed.”
She said he liked to write poetry, and she read a piece that he wrote: “Time won’t wait for you. If you’ve waited at all to do what you think is right, you’ve waited too long.”
Michael Miller, whom Kennedy knew, also grew up down the road from Live Oaks School, which he attended. He graduated from Foran High School, where he was a standout athlete, and went on to play football at the University of Pennsylvania, she said. “Michael had a smile that would light up any room.”
Miller also worked at Cantor Fitzgerald. He was 39 when he died.
His No. 12 jersey was retired by Foran High School after his death.
Mayor Ben Blake spoke the names of the three men Wednesday as Fire Chief Doug Edo rang a bell in their honor.
Dignitaries spoke about Sept. 11 2001, a day that has remained strong in their memories even years later. They remember where they were when the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center, who they were with as they watched the news of the attacks unfold, and who they called to check on.
“Indeed, our country has never been the same since that day,” said state Sen. James Maroney (D-14).
He talked about the heroes of the day, the “helpers,” and said that when thinking of the attacks or talking to children about that day, it is important to focus on “the helpers,” those who sacrificed or put their lives in danger to help others.
“In the face of great evil there can be great good,” Maroney said.
The garden at Live Oaks was among the first in the state to be created in memory of the terrorist attack victims, said Alderman Ray Vitali, former Live Oaks School principal.
It is dedicated to the three Milford men, but also to the thousands who lost their lives at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on United Airlines Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, as well as the men and women who risked or lost their lives in the rescue efforts.
Vitali read an inscription on a plaque set in the garden.
“May this garden bring solace and renewed faith in peace to Michael’s, Avnish’s and Seth’s family, the citizens of Milford and all who visit here.”
Kennedy said she believes the community-built garden has offered some solace, recalling working in it years ago and seeing family members of one of the victims stop and spend time there.
None of the three men’s family members were at the Milford ceremony Wednesday, but have attended Milford’s memorials in the past. Kennedy said family members sometimes attend other memorials on this day.